Seaweed Lessons

I'm sitting at the shore front on the rocks at low tide, surrounded by crags and pebbles laced with 5 kinds and colors and shapes of seaweed. I am watching the waves come in and out, in and out, over and over. One patch of seaweed, stringy and brown, is anchored just under the low tidewater at the base of this pile of rocks. With each wave its long hair flows out and in as the tide moves. I'm thinking about what the seaweed has to teach me about roots and responding to the pressures of this world. To survive right there, where every wave buffets it back and forth, it must have strong strong roots holding it to the rock. And above those roots everything must be flexible, responsive to the moment. It flows back and forth over and over and bends rather than breaks, it coils and flows and grows because it moves with the water without losing its grip.

I'm thinking about my struggles with chronic migraines and an assortment of more minor health issues that come and go. I write this via dictation software because as of last week I have tendonitis in both wrists and need to rest my hands as much as possible. I currently pay my bills with housekeeping, and most of my hobbies are craft related, so I am finding it difficult not to use my hands. And every month for years I have had migraines every few days, a week in between at most. It is exhausting to be buffeted again and again by my pain, doctors visits, medication research and trials and side effects and trials again.

Keep going, this seaweed tells me. Stay rooted. Just go with it, you are still alive, still drinking in the Sun and the nourishment of this world. You can still thrive as the waves dance you back and forth every day. Be flexible. Respond to the needs of this moment.

In the deeper stillwater the waves are not nearly as violent, you can grow and thrive and be still without these pressures and hurts. But the deeps have their own dangers and predators that do not venture into these shallower more turbulent waters. And here where are the waves are, there is also the surface and air and Sun. Life here is uniquely challenging, and uniquely rich and beautiful.

And if a great storm comes and rips up your roots, be flexible and trust. You will find yourself washed up in a new place with new stones to grip, new sun to drink in. Your roots are solid and can find a new place to grip. You are alive.

(written by Gwen in February at the Albany Shorefront)